Blepharitis – what it is and how do you treat it
Jun 06, 2022 in Eye Care
Ble-pha-ri-tis: a bit of a tricky word, but luckily it’s not usually a tricky problem. It can be treated and managed. Here’s our quick guide to blepharitis.
Blepharitis is a chronic but common condition that causes inflammation of the eyelids. The symptoms of blepharitis can often come and go, and you may not even realise you have it. If you’re intermittently suffering from any of the following eye issues, you may have the condition:
- Crusting or flakiness at lash roots
- Eyes feeling gritty or like you have something stuck in them
- Eyelids stuck together when you wake up
- Small bump in one or both eyelids (known as a chalazion)
Blepharitis occurs when the tiny oil-making meibomian glands in your eyelids become blocked. Meibomian glands contribute to keeping the eye lubricated, along with the tear ducts and lacrimal glands. This blockage of the meibomian glands can cause your eyes to become dry and irritated, and in some cases can lead to swellings, called chalazion.
If you have a skin condition such as acne or eczema you might be more likely to suffer from blepharitis too.
Another theory is that some people are more prone to blepharitis when they have a sensitivity to common bacterias, such as staphylococcus – the normal bacteria that live on our skin.
Treatment and prevention
Fortunately, while it can be uncomfortable, blepharitis doesn’t usually cause permanent damage to your eyelids or eyes – and it’s not contagious either. It’s easy to treat:
- Clean your eyelids with a daily cleanser such as Blephaclean which is a ready-to-use sterile wipe, or Blephasol, an eyelid cleaning lotion. Do this even when symptoms aren’t present. This ‘lid hygiene’ process will help clear out any debris from your glands and prevent them getting clogged up again, allowing oil production to resume.
- Apply a hot compress, such as the Blepha Eye Bag, twice a day. This softens the blocked oil and should help them flow freely again.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses as long as you have symptoms.
- Don’t wear eye makeup while you have symptoms – particularly mascara or eyeliner. However, if you do, we'd always recommend waterproof and hypoallergenic make-up.
What to do if you think you have blepharitis
If you are worried about blepharitis or have a particularly nasty bout that isn’t clearing up, make sure to see your optometrist. You can book an appointment to see one of our friendly opticians at Leightons, who will be able to help you with any eyelid issues or eye problems you may have.